Home Improvement

DIY Basement Makeover

For the past year or so, my parents’ basement has been sitting unfinished and collecting everyone’s stuff. So, my dad and I finally finished it! Even cooler, we partnered with Armstrong Ceilings to help make the basement come to life with a DIY basement makeover!

DIY Basement Makeover

Want to see this build in action? Check it out on my YouTube channel!

This post is sponsored by Armstrong Ceilings. For my full disclosure policy, click here.

Let’s get down to business! My dad and I started renovating the basement when they moved in last year, but we never finished.

This was my parents’ basement before:

It was dark, partially unfinished, and pretty sad…

and this is my parents’ basement now!

SO much better!

This renovation was a big one, so I’m spilling the beans on the steps we took to make it happen on my YouTube channel &  here on my blog. Let’s get started!

What We Used:

armstrong ceiling

Tools & Materials


Armstrong Woodhaven Ceiling Planks
Easy-Up Track System
Easy-Up Clamps
Miter Saw
Jig Saw


Mold-Resistant Drywall
Joint Compound
Drywall Tape
Drywall Screws


Paint Rollers
Paint Brushes
Paint Tin
BEHR Paint (Melting Icicles)
BEHR Paint (Tin Foil)
BEHR Paint (White)
Drywall Primer


Ceramic Tile Adhesive
Tile Saw

Trim & Woodwork

Base Moulding
Crown Moulding
Door & Window Moulding
Barnwood Boards
Brad Nailer

The Steps:

  1. When we got started in the basement, we finished hanging drywall and then taped and mudded the walls.

how to mud walls

2. After waiting a few days for the joint compound to dry, I came back in and final sanded the joints. I made sure the seams and the walls were all perfectly straight.

how to sand drywall

3. Once the walls were done, we finished tiling the floor and grouting.

how to grout tiles

4. Next, my dad and I installed doors and doorways to separate the laundry room and storage room from the living space.

how to install a door in drywall

5. Next, I prepped for painting by first priming the drywall. After the primer dried, I then painted the walls with two coats of paint.

how to prime and paint new drywall

6. After painting, I decided to turn the boring closet doors into an accent wall using the same barnwood boards I used in my parents’ old laundry room.

barn wood board accent wall

7. Once the bulk of the basement was done, it was time for the ceiling. We did not want to install a traditional drop ceiling because we don’t care for the look. So, we opted for Armstrong’s Woodhaven Ceiling Panels in painted white instead!

The boards were a tongue system that interlocked on the ceiling (just like installing a floor on the ceiling joists).

Installation of this product was super simple! We used the Easy Up Track System to install the tiles by drilling the tracks directly into the ceiling joists at about 18″ apart. We also checked for level to make sure that everything was flush.

armstrong easy up track system

Next, we started installing the ceiling panels! I cut the tongue-side off of the first board and screwed it into the tracks, leaving about an inch of room between the first board and the parallel wall. We also left about ¾” of space between each board and the adjacent wall.

We then continued to install the boards by sliding the tongue of one board into the groove of the other.

how to install wood planks on ceiling

We also helped secure each board to the tracks using clips.

easy up clip system

Whenever we needed to trim a board, I used my miter saw (or my jig saw, if the board needed to go around a light).

how to cut around lights

8. Once the ceiling was installed, it was time to add trim to the baseboards, doors, and crown moulding.

how to install crown moulding

9. I then caulked and painted all of the trim in the room.

how to paint trim

10. Next, I added the finishing touches!

basement renovation ideas

It is mind blowing how different this space looks!

It’s also crazy how bright and spacious adding a ceiling to a dark basement can be. I’m so excited about it (and so are my parents)!

basement low ceiling

Want to save this project for later? Make sure to Pin It!

There are still a few rooms in this basement that need some love, and I am so excited to get started on those renovations as well. But, until then… happy DIY’ing!

Sam Raimondi

Sam is a full time psychologist and part time content creator from Long Island, New York.




  • kirshan

    Where did you get the hardware for the sliding barn door? I have the same problem of low ceiling height in my basement.

    • Sam

      Got it at Home Depot! If you check out my “DIY Sliding Barn Door” project, I have some direct links to the hardware!

  • Joy

    Hello Sam! Thank you for sharing this wonderful journey with us. I was wondering though, if you knew where the rug in the basement is from please? Thank you very much.

    • Sam

      Hi! It’s from Rugs USA!

  • Romaldo

    Whatd you spend ???

    • Sam

      The reason I didn’t share cost in this post is because I have no idea… from start to finish (we dragged our feet), the whole renovation took about a year… but, when we got serious about it, it took about a month. That being said, we unfortunately didn’t keep track of expenses, since it was a long process.

  • Marcus

    Great job on the basement! What’s the height down there? I’m thinking about putting a bed and bath in my basement, problem is my basement is only 6’6″

  • Liya

    I love all your work! Can you please tell me where the grey couch is from? Thank you in advance.

    • Sam

      Thank you! It’s from Ikea!

  • Roman

    Hi, what a great project!
    Can you please list which power tools I would need for this type of project? And where you recommend getting them?
    Thank you!

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